LIVINGSTON, NJ — Mt. Pleasant Elementary School (MPE) students recently participated in the school’s third and most successful clothing drive, collecting nearly 2,000 pounds of clothing, linens, handbags and more.

The clothing drive was a Fifth Grade Committee project led by committee member Kara Baltuch, who explained that the committee runs activities and fundraisers throughout the year in order to send the 5th grade class on a free graduation trip. Thanks to the clothing drive and other projects, the fifth graders from MPE will enjoy a day at Spring Lake Day Camp. 

“We also donate money to Project Graduation for our graduating year as well as purchase a gift for the school,” said Baltuch. “In the past, things such as new basketball hoops and chrome book carts for MPE.”

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Baltuch, who has been involved in the drives before, credits the enormous weight of the donations to the timing of this fall drive.

“We sent out information about the clothing drive before school got out in the summer because we knew with kids in camp and away for the summer a lot of people clean out closets,” she said. “I had many people tell me this motivated them to clean out closets, attics, etc.”

Reminders were also sent to parents and community members via Email, Facebook and other outlets over the summer and at the beginning of the school year to gather gently used items.

Baltuch, a teacher in Parsippany, was inspired to organize a clothing drive because her school held a similar event several years ago. Through members of her school’s PTA, she obtained contact information for Millennium International Textile, Inc., where they donated the items.

According to their website, Millennium International is the “only used-clothing graders and exporters in the United States that is solely owned & operated by women.” The organization’s mission is to “provide fundraising services to our local and surrounding communities.”

By working with churches, schools, communities, non-profit organizations and public-service departments, Millennium’s goal is to “partner with and generate revenue for community and non-profit organizations while simultaneously recycling clothing and shoes to be distributed globally and locally, to those in need.”

The organization accepts used clothing, used shoes, used accessories (handbags, travel bags, wallets, luggage, school bags, evening bags, belts and children's bags), used hard toys, used baseball caps and used bric-a-brac.

“Millennium pays per pound donated, so that is an added incentive to collect a lot,” said Baltuch, who collected all of the donation items at her house on the day of the pick up and from the school picnic held the night prior.

She added that the students were excited to help, stating that the drive was a nice way to teach them at a young age how important it is to assist those in need.